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Old Fashioned Bread, Celery And Sage Turkey Stuffing (Or Dressing)

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This old fashioned turkey stuffing made with celery, sage and bread is a traditional turkey dressing recipe that tastes just like Grandma used to make.

There is nothing like a fabulous roasted turkey with this traditional turkey stuffing and some roasting pan gravy to make your Thanksgiving dinner a big hit.

Old Fashioned Celery and Sage Turkey Stuffing Recipe

I have to admit…a lot of my friends think I’m crazy. But I actually love hosting Thanksgiving dinner.

Since I grew up in Canada but now live in the States, I get to celebrate it twice! Once in October for Canadian Thanksgiving and once in November for American Thanksgiving.

Even if I don’t get to go to Canada for the first one, I still make a Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all of the trimmings for whatever friends want to come over.

Traditional Turkey Stuffing (Or Dressing)

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Traditional turkey stuffing in a bowl in front of a turkey

One of the recipes that is always a big hit is this old fashioned bread stuffing.

In Canada, we always cook stuffing in the turkey cavity.

But for my American friends from the south, it’s cooked in a baking dish outside of the turkey. And called dressing instead of stuffing.

Luckily, this recipe works well either way you want to cook it.

The other benefit of this recipe?

It makes enough to stuff an 18 pound turkey.

So unless you are having an army for dinner you will probably have some leftovers. And it tastes great on hot turkey sandwiches the next day.

old-fashioned bread, celery and sage turkey stuffing in a bowl


Here’s the shopping list for this old fashioned celery and sage turkey dressing recipe:

  • Bread – about 2 loaves of bread (depending on the size of the loaf). I like to use whole wheat bread for this, but white bread or any other type of bread will work. Stale bread works just as well as fresh, so if you happen to have any old loaves hanging around, this is a great way to use them up.
  • Dairy – 1½ sticks (or ¾ cup) of butter
  • Vegetables – 4 celery stalks (enough for 2 cups chopped), 4 medium-sized cooking onions (enough for 2½ cups chopped)
  • Spices– (all dried) 2 Tablespoons parsley, 4 teaspoons sage, 1¼ teaspoons savory, 1 teaspoon marjoram, ½ teaspoon thyme
  • Seasoning – 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
  • (Optional) Chicken stock– you’ll need about ½ cup of this if making dressing in a dish outside the turkey.


  • To make the recipe gluten free, substitute gluten-free bread for the regular bread. If you’re baking it, you may need to add a little extra chicken broth since the gluten-free bread tends to be drier.


  • bread knife
  • Large bowl – big enough to hold 14 cups of bread with enough room to stir
  • chopping knife or food processor
  • Saute pan or large skillet
  • (Optional) Baking dish – only required if you are cooking the stuffing outside the turkey

How To Make Turkey Stuffing

Prep Work

The first step to making this traditional turkey stuffing recipe is to chop the bread.

You’ll need about 14 cups of bread that has been chopped into 1/2″ cubes. It takes about 2 loaves of bread to make this many cubes (although that does depend on the size of the loaf). This is a great way to use up any old bread you have hanging around, since stale bread works just as well as fresh.

I like to stack 4 or 5 slices of bread on top of each other and cut through them all at once with a bread knife. It makes the chopping go a lot faster.

Put the bread in a large bowl and set aside.

Chop the onions. I like to use a food processor for this. It makes the chopping go faster and if you have a slicing attachment, it’ll do the celery, too.

Chop the celery into slices that are about 1/8″ thick.

Cook the vegetables

Celery, onions and spices being cooked in butter in a saute pan

Melt the butter in the saute pan over low heat.

Add 2 cups chopped onions, 2½ cups chopped celery, and all of the spices and seasonings (parsley, sage, savory, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper) to the butter and stir.

Cook until the onions and celery are soft, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.

If you’re in a hurry, you can increase the temperature to medium heat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Just make sure to stir frequently to ensure the butter doesn’t burn.

Mix the stuffing

Bread mixed with celery and sage in a bowl

Add the cooked onion mixture into the cubed bread in the large bowl.

Stir until the bread is coated with butter and spices.

And that’s it. You’re ready to stuff your turkey!

How to stuff a turkey

Turkey stuffing in the back of the turkey

Fill the cavity at the back of the turkey.

I find it easiest to turn the turkey upside down to do this.

Then fold the extra flap of skin down to cover the stuffing. You can stake it closed if you want to make sure it stays closed.

Turkey stuffing in the main cavity of the turkey

Then turn the turkey over and fill the main cavity with the stuffing.

To prevent the stuffing from getting too dried out, cover it with an extra piece of bread while cooking.

How to cook turkey dressing

Old fashioned celery and sage turkey dressing in a baking dish

If you are making turkey dressing in a baking dish, add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to moisten the mixture a bit more.

Then put it in a casserole dish and bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes at 325℉.

Other Holiday Recipes You Might Like

turkey stuffing in a bowl

Old Fashioned Bread, Celery and Sage Turkey Stuffing

Wanda Simone
This old fashioned bread, celery and sage turkey stuffing is a traditional recipe that tastes just like Grandma's. It can either be stuffed in the turkey, or baked in a pan and served as dressing.
4.77 from 69 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 18 pound turkey (or 20 people)
Calories 198 kcal


  • bread knife
  • large bowl (big enough to mix 14 cups of bread)
  • chopping knife or food processor
  • saute pan
  • (optional) baking dish – if you are cooking the stuffing outside of the turkey


  • ¾ cup butter or 1½ sticks
  • cups chopped onions about 4 medium-sized onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery about 4 celery stalks
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 4 teaspoons crushed dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • teaspoons dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 14 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes about 2 loaves of bread, chopped
  • ½ cup chicken broth only required if you are cooking the stuffing outside the turkey


  • Melt the butter in the frying pay over low heat.
    ¾ cup butter
  • Add onions, celery, sage, salt savory, marjoram, pepper, thyme and parsley to the pan.
    2½ cups chopped onions, 2 cups chopped celery, 4 teaspoons crushed dried sage, 2 teaspoons salt, 1¼ teaspoons dried savory, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • Stir frequently until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add bread crumbs and the onion mixture to a large bowl.
    14 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes
  • Mix until the bread is well coated.
  • If you want to cook this outside the turkey, add enough chicken broth to moisten the dressing. Then bake in a shallow casserole dish at 325°F for 30 – 45 minutes.
    ½ cup chicken broth
  • If you are using this to stuff a turkey, no additional liquid or cooking is necessary…the stuffing is ready to put inside the bird.


  • To make the recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free bread.


Serving: 18 servingsCalories: 198 kcalCarbohydrates: 24 gProtein: 5 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 5 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 20 mgSodium: 587 mgPotassium: 156 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 296 IUVitamin C: 3 mgCalcium: 77 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

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Old fashioned bread, celery and sage turkey stuffing

This post was originally published on November 2, 2014 but was updated with new content on November 4, 2022.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this recipe on the weekend. It is the tastiest stuffing that I have ever made! I’m glad there are leftovers.

    1. This looks just like my mom’s recipe! She passed in 2009 and I have several recipes I never got from her. Can’t wait to try it!

      1. Wanda Simone says:

        It could be the same one, Heidi. This recipe has been around for years and it’s still my favorite stuffing ever.

      2. I CANT BELIEVE THIS..My dad passed away a year a ago from covid and I was waiting his dressing. I’m from Canada live in the states. Have my whole life this was the only dressing we would eat growing up.I found this one it’s just like my dads. He put pototoes in it as well .Can’t wait for Thanksgiving. My dad is still here with me. Love you dad …

        1. Wanda Simone says:

          I am so sorry for your loss, Kim. But glad I can contribute to continuing his legacy. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

  2. DONNA KEAY says:


    1. Thanks, Donna…This is the recipe my grandmother used to make and it is my favorite! Hopefully, it turns out like your mom’s did 🙂

    2. Gary Donald Berle says:

      I use this basic recipe, but I add pieces of potato, as well

      1. Wanda Simone says:

        That sounds good, Gary! Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. This is like the one my Mom made and I still do. Only I add sausage to mine and only use tyme, sage, parsley, salt \, pepper. Plus I always stuff mine in the turkey. It’s good to see someone else uses this recipe for the best stuffing.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Marjorie! Adding sausage sounds like it would be good. And I agree that it’s the best stuffing recipe 🙂

      1. Stacey Fracalossi says:

        3 stars
        Hello! How much poultry seasoning would I use instead of the dried ingredients?

        1. Wanda Simone says:

          Hi Stacey…I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, but I would guess 3 to 4 Tablespoons, depending on how strong of a flavor you like.

  4. Hutchins Linda says:

    Can this recipe be scaled down? It is only three people and I am afraid it might be way too much.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Linda…yes, there’s no problem if you want to cut all the ingredients by half to make a smaller batch.

  5. Does it matter what kind of bread you use? We usually whole 12 grain, or gluten free bread. What would you suggest?

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Anita…I have used both whole grain and gluten-free bread in the past and they both work. I think I like the whole grain a little bit better, but because most of the flavor comes from the spices, the type of bread doesn’t make that much difference.

  6. Rob Evans says:

    I use a cheese cloth and put it inside the turkey cavity. Then I add the stuffing. When the turkey is finished cooking….just pull out the cheese cloth and wah-la….no digging through the bones for lose stuffing!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Rob! That’s a great idea 🙂

    2. What a great idea Rob! I am going to try that this year. I make stuffing following this recipe, but I have always added the liquid before stuffing, and baked the rest in a pan. I end up mixing the 2 together for both flavor and texture. Can’t wait to try it with stuffing the bird ‘dry’.
      Merry Christmas everyone!

  7. Donna Norman says:

    Can I make this stuffing a few days before and keep it in the refrigerator, then stuff the bird the day of?

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Donna…yes, that works just fine. I usually take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before I’m going to stuff the bird so that it has time to warm up to room temperature (otherwise, it may take the turkey a little longer to cook).

  8. Rex A. Long says:

    sounds like the one my mom made.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      It could be, Rex…it’s definitely a stuffing recipe that’s been around for years!

      1. Does the bread cubes need to be dried out, or are they to be fresh? I’m new at making stuffing, and there are just too many different recipes…I’m so confused!!! 🧐🤔

        1. Wanda Simone says:

          Hi Darlene…you don’t want the bread to be hard (like croutons), but you can use stale bread that’s a few days old if you have some you want to use up. Otherwise, go with fresh bread…it’s always a safe bet 🙂

  9. This is very much like the one we traditionally make, but also add sausage…just the stuff that comes in the plastic roll, plain. We also grind the bread in a food processor rather than cubing

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Kathy! I will have to try the bread in the food processor idea 🙂

  10. Fox Carol says:

    this is much like what I make but I use fresh herbs and I have always used a beaten egg would an egg work in this recipe?

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Carol…I haven’t tried it with an egg, but I think it would work.

  11. 5 stars
    It’s my Canadian family recipe too! My 94 year old mom got it from her mom, who probably got it from her mom! I make mine and put it in a slow cooker on low now. So simple and no need for taking up valuable oven space. My Turkey cooks faster unstuffed too.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Valerie! I have never tried it in the slow cooker, but it sounds like a good idea!

  12. J. Dougall says:

    4 stars
    I use sweet onions and shallots as they are less disruptive to sensitive tummies. I often add thyme, rosemary (I grow and dry these as well), garlic (usually garlic powder) and, after a few years, I learned that a small bit of dried basil also works well. I grow my and dry my own sage and I use quite a lot of it as this flavor (for me) signifies Thanksgiving more than anything else. The butter amount here seems a bit excessive when the rest of the meal is also rich. I rely on good broth rather than too much butter. You can’t make good stuffing without using high quality (preferably bakery) bread!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Jane…Sage is definitely the dominant flavor in this recipe. And I agree with you that it’s what makes the stuffing taste like “fall”. However, I have made this recipe many, many times with many different types of bread so I am very confident when I say that the type of bread doesn’t make that much difference. The flavor from the spices and onions is quite strong (intentionally). And the bread gets soaked with butter (and turkey juices if you use it to stuff the bird), so it is mostly there to provide texture and absorb the flavors from everything else. If you are using a recipe that has more delicate flavors (like you would get from using shallots and broth instead of onions and butter), then I would agree that the quality of the bread is quite important. However, that is a totally different recipe 🙂 But thank you for sharing your version!

  13. Can you put this in a crock pot instead of a baking dish?

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Darlene…I haven’t tried it but I think it would work. I would cook it on high for the first half hour or an hour, and then put it on low for 3 to 4 hours.

  14. Teresa Martin says:

    I couldn’t find any Savory and I’m not sure if I will need it anyway

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      I hope it worked out for you anyway, Teresa!

  15. Love this stuffing, my Mom made this exact stuffing every time she served turkey. I have fond memories.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Marie! It’s my favorite, too 🙂

  16. question- if stuffing it in the bird, then do not add any chicken broth at all?

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Jen…yes, that’s correct. The stuffing will soak in some of the juice from the turkey so you don’t need to add any liquid to it.

  17. I love this recipe but your web site makes it very difficult to use it. It’s almost impossible to select and copy it . I finally just gave up.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Ellie…I think you could use the Print Recipe button. Then either copy and paste it from the screen that comes up. Or use the Print option and set the Destination to “Save To PDF” which would save a copy of it to a file.

  18. Sounds about right but think you left out an important ingredient:
    -Fresh made cornbread
    —fresh made broth made from:
    Add water to saucepan, neck, gizzards, liver, heart, one onion with two cloves in it, 1 carrot and 1 stock of celery. Boil, simmer—that is the stock to add to dressing to moisten.
    Extra can be used for gravy.
    -go easy on that sage, taste, taste as
    It is being made
    —fresh herbs

  19. 5 stars
    Using this reciipe for the first time, but it looks just like I remember my mother’s recipe and I expect great results. So happy to find this.